Aero: Annie Livingston – Costa Rica 2015 – City Life


Aero: Annie Livingston – Costa Rica 2015 – City Life
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Aero: Annie Livingston – Costa Rica 2015 – City Life


Annie Livingston

We stayed with our host families in the city of Alajuela, which is a moderately sized city, not too big, but not too small either. On our first day in Costa Rica, we took a walking tour around, then explored by ourselves for a while. It was HOT…and it was hard to adjust to after coming right from the freezing cold.

In Alajuela, the park is in the center of town, which is also where the cathedral is. The cathedral tower has a cross pointing up to the sky, so if you got lost wandering around town all you had to do was look for the cross, and follow it back to the park.

There were always interesting occurrences happening in the Central Park. The first time we went there was dancing and music going on, and some nice people invited some of us to dance with them. One night, we were on our way home from the supermarket and we stopped by the Central Park, where we saw some people preforming a dancing show. People were gathered around to watch, old and young couples holding hands, and children playing by the water fountain. It was a very fun, active environment.

The traffic situation was…crazy, to say the least. The people in Costa Rica take their time with everything they do, are usually in no rush—except, for some reason, when it comes to driving. I saw cars narrowly pass other cars when cars were coming towards them and lay on their horns for several minutes when they thought other vehicles were moving too slowly. Stop signs also seemed to be only a suggestion for some. Traffic did not stop for pedestrians either, so we had to get across the streets as quickly as we could without getting squished.

Taking the public bus places was always an adventure, as this huge bus had to wind through traffic on tiny narrow streets. One time we were driving and another bus pulled out of a side street, looking as if it was going to come straight through my window. Luckily, it came to a halt only feet away.


ML@FLCC Costa Rica
2015 Flickr Gallery

There was often construction happening on the roads, and one day when we were going out on an excursion, we were waiting in a road construction zone for a really long time. Our tour guide had to hop out of the bus and run up to see what was going on. It turns out that the flaggers decided to take a day off and the people had no clue what the traffic on the other side was doing, so they couldn’t let people through. Only in Costa Rica!

Motorcycles were also common in the cities, and they could be very loud and obnoxious, especially when people would drive by doing wheelies to show off. Alajuela was near the airport as well, so we heard and saw loud airplanes a lot, and often people on bicycles as well.

Alajuela seemed to be a nice and convenient city to live in, as everything needed was within a short walking distance, the grocery store, pharmacy, public market, many restaurants, and hair salons. It was a lot of fun to explore, and felt very safe, other than the fact that there were deep trenches along the sides of the road, these were so that when it rained a lot the sidewalks would not flood, however I am clumsy, and almost twisted my ankle falling in them about a hundred times.

There were also lots of little shops around town that were fun to visit: souvenir shops, flower shops, video game figurine shops, shops that sold nothing but socks, many hair salons, etc. and it was interesting that they could all get enough business to stay open. I am glad that they do, because they all add to the character of the city and make it a unique and diverse place to be.

Annie Livingston
LEAF Contributor